Welcome to Enchanted Valley

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Welcome to Enchanted Valley

Pilot.jpg
Written by Nuuan
Copyright © 2017 by Nuuan

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the Author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

~o~O~o~

‘Of all the times the weatherman could be wrong, why today and why so wrong!’ Charles Moore thought to himself as he did his best to see the road through the heavy snow that was falling. When the snow first began, Charlie thought that it would not amount to much since the weatherman had not forecast any snow at all for the next several days. If there had been even a hint of snow he would have never tried to drive the mountain pass, especially in a car that had no snow chains in the trunk.

Charlie had bought the Camry that he was driving for his daughter Erika as a Christmas present. That was his first mistake, buying her a new car in the middle of winter. Erika had been so excited with the new car she insisted on driving it back to Seattle instead of taking a commercial fight back. While Charlie was proud of how great she was doing in medical school and how responsible his daughter was, he still had the parental fear of letting her drive on such a long trip not to mention the long trek over the mountains at this time of year where at times the snow could get so deep the highway department could be forced to close down interstate 90 until the snow could be removed.

Charlie had taken over driving when they stopped to fill up and take a break in Ellensburg before getting too far into the mountains. Just the other side of Easton it began snowing and within a mile the snow was coming down so hard it was difficult for Charlie to see the road. AS the road became worse Charlie had slowed down while trying to hurry as much as he could hoping to make it to North Bend where they could get a motel and wait out the storm if it didn’t dissipate before reaching the town. Although the storm had other ideas coming down even harder, so hard that it became difficult for Charlie to see the front of the car as he was driving.

Erika screamed as the car hit something right before it skidded around and went over the median into what would have been oncoming traffic had there been any other cars on the road. The car flipped over onto its roof as it spun out of control toward the guard rail. The last thing Charlie saw what his side window shatter and what could only be a piece of the guard rail coming straight at him.

~o~O~o~

Charlie opened his eyes to find the blurry image of off white ceiling tiles. Turning his head was difficult, only managing to turn it slightly to the left, although doing so he found was not worth the trouble as all he could see was a pastel cream colored curtain that hung from a slot in the ceiling obscuring his view of anything beyond. A few minutes later the curtain was brushed aside by a rather pretty dark Burnett nurse. “The monitor showed that you were awake, Please don’t try to talk yet Mr. Moore, you sustained some pretty nasty damage in that auto wreck you were in.”

“Errkkka,” Charlie managed to grunt, worried more about his daughter than himself at the moment.

“Please don’t try to talk yet,” he felt the nurse pat his hand, which felt odd as it seemed the nurse’s hand was much larger than his own. “Your daughter is fine, she managed to get out relatively unscathed. I called her before I came in to check on you, she is on her way over. Just rest, I’ll send her in when she arrives.” She watched as Charlie tried to nod. “That’s good, I know it’s difficult right now but trying to move around a bit will help relearn the muscle control you need, just promise me you won’t overdo it okay? No trying to sit up or get out of bed yet.”

Charlie thought he must have dozed back off as it seemed that no sooner than the nurse left he heard Erika scream, “Daddy!” Charlie opened his eyes to see the curtain thrown aside as his daughter raced in grabbing him up in a powerful hug. “Oh my god, I was so scared I was going to lose you! They told me they knew what they were doing but holy hell daddy, this place is oh my god, you won’t believe this place, what they can do here…”

Charlie had stopped listening to Erika when he realized how big she was now. While he never considered his daughter short, at five foot five she was much smaller than his impressive six foot three. What had surprised him so much was that he felt like a small child in her enormous arms. Charlie could not understand why Erika seemed so large, what could have happened in the accident to cause her to get so big and as he found himself gasping for breath, so strong too?

Releasing her father from her embrace, Erika saw the wide eyed fear in his eyes. “Oh my god, Daddy I’m sorry I didn’t mean to hold you so tight, it’s just I’m so happy to see you’re going to be okay.”

Looking from his daughter to the side of the bed that seemed too far away, Charlie looked down at his sides to both sides of the bed, the bed looked huge also. Why did everything seem so big? Looking back up to Erika he tried to force himself to ask, “Bee-” was all her could get out.

Erika’s eyes began to fill with tears, “Big? You want to know why everything is so big.”

Charlie nodded.

“Okay let me explain,” Erika began, “You were hurt really bad when the car crashed.” She could tell by the questioning look in his eyes he wanted to ask how badly. “Um one of the steel girders from the guard rail came through your side of the car,” Erika leaned over the bed burying her face into his stomach, “Daddy it cut you in half, you would have died if it wasn’t for these people. Please don’t be mad at me. I, I told them to do it, I couldn’t bear losing you like I did mom. I’m so sorry.”

Charlie managed to raise his hand, a hand that was too small to be his even though he could tell by the shaky way it moved it was the one he was controlling, and put it on Erika’s shoulder, “Sss Kaaaay” he managed to say.

Erika looked up sniffling back the tears, “Oh Daddy!” She reached up hugging him again. “I love you so much.”

Erika felt her father nudging her. Figuring that he wanted her to continue explaining what happened to them she did, “I woke up in the car and saw you and panicked, I remember screaming for help. I don’t know how long it took but suddenly my door was ripped off the car and I saw this man wearing what looked like coat made out of bear fur or something close. I saw another one on your side of the car, it pulled the door clean off the car as I watched, then it pulled you out. That’s when I got a look at its face, it, it wasn’t human and the one that had you must have been at least eight feet tall. Then I realized it only had half of you, your legs were gone. I think I fainted when I saw that because I work up here in their hospital.” Reaching over to the night stand by the bed Erika pulled a few tissues from the box that sat there to wipe her eyes and blow her nose. “Daddy believe it or not we were rescued by bigfoot, but that’s not what they call themselves, they’re called the Olmana and after I got over how big and hairy they were, I found them to be very nice.”

“That they are,’ Chuckled a sandy blond man of no more than thirty years that had been quietly standing just inside the room watching the reunion. “Sorry to startle you, I’m Greg. One of the guys you can thank, curse or a bit of both for what we did to save you.”

Charlie’s eyes darted back and forth between the new arrival and Erika.

“I thought I could help explain,” Greg took a few steps closer to the bed. “I know what happened was very traumatic for Erika, it has taken weeks for her to come as far as she has.” Seeing the look in Charlie’s eyes, “Yes you’ve been, let’s just call it unconscious, for almost nine weeks. You see the damaged your body sustained was far beyond even what we could repair, although my people have a multitude of experience in cloning. With your daughter’s permissions, which I might say she would only give after we proved that it was a viable option, we cloned you.”

Charlie’s eyes went as wide as saucers at Greg before he looked over to see Erika nodding.

“Using your DNA and one of your daughter’s eggs that she donated for the process, we grew a new body,” Greg explained. “Now keep in mind this was an emergency procedure utilizing expanded in-vitro growth to bring the clone up to a size that you could be safely incorporated into without losing any base motor functions, skills or memories. Given the choice I would have like to allow the clone to grow further but it was risky to wait any longer.”

“Daddy there is something else you need to know,” Erika looked him in the eyes. “Please believe him.”

“Oh yes,” Greg continued, “Erika said this was something that your people can be quite emotional about. You’ll have to excuse me on this as my people do not see the significance.” Greg looked over at Erika who nodded at him to continue. You see most creatures begin life as female in the embryonic stage, this includes humans. Then at some early stage of development the enzymes and hormones enter into the growth of the embryo and begin making changes to change the embryo into male. Due to the exceeding need for speed, we did not have the time to make those adjustments in-vitro.”

“What he’s saying Daddy is that you’re a girl,” Erika broke it down for her father. “A very young girl.”

Looking wide eyed at his daughter, “Owww yung?” he managed to force out.

“Five or six,” Erika quietly answered.

“Your voice and coordination will get better with use,” Greg stated, “It does take a day or two for your mind to relearn those skills, but the more use try to use them the faster it will get better.”

~o~O~o~

Between Erika and the various nurses and doctors, although they asked Charlie not to call them by those titles, Charlie’s days were full of therapy. Relearning how to vocalize sounds and learning to control his new body. Much to Charlie’s embarrassment he had no control over his bladder muscles either and found himself forced to wear pull-ups that were provided for him. Although by the third day after he woke in the strange body Charlie had mastered walking with the aid of a walker they had provided him and had begun also trying to train his bladder.

The afternoon of the fourth day Erika came into the hospital room to visit with her father to find him not in bed. Looking around she saw the bathroom door was closed, so Erika sat on the edge of the bed to wait. Sitting patiently waiting Erika heard a loud thump coming from the bathroom, rushing over Erika threw open the door to find the little girl her father was now, laying on the floor tangled in her hospital gown moaning. Erika quickly scooped up the small girl in her arms while sitting down on the toilet seat, Oh my god Daddy are you alright?”

“I’m, I’m fine, the squeaky voice made it seem almost as if was pouting.

“What happened?”

“I, I was trying to see what I looked like now,” The small girl’s face turned beet red. “I slipped and fell.”

Erika turned to look at the only mirror in the bathroom above the sink was too high for her father’s now diminutive size to even see his face in. “What did you do climb up on the sink?”

The little girl's face turned a darker shade of red as she nodded.

“Why didn’t you ask for help?” Erika realized the answer before she finished phrasing the question. Standing up while switching the small child so she was straddling Erika’s hip while Erika held her aloft with one arm behind her father’s now small back, Erika stood in front of the mirror so that her father could see them both in the mirror. For several minutes they stood there without a word spoken.

Erika saw her father bring her hand up to touch her own face before looking up at Erika, “I look just like you did when you were little.”

“I must have been a beautiful little girl then, because I think you made one beautiful little girl.”

“You were,” Charlie’s eyes became wet with tears, “You were the most adorable little girl on earth.”

“Daddy you always say the sweetest things,” Erika kissed the girl on the cheek.

“I think you should stop calling me daddy.”

“Why?” Erika grinned, “I think it’s cute.”

“I don’t look like a daddy anymore,” Charlie stated the obvious, “and it could make people ask questions I’m not sure either of us want to answer after we leave the hospital. Better to get used to calling me Charlie now so you don’t slip up later.”

Erika nodded her understanding then raised the question, “Is that short or Charlene or Charlotte?”

“What?”

“Is your full new name going to be Charlotte or Charlene?”

“Why can’t it be Charlie?”

“Because a pretty girl needs a prettier name than Charlie.” Erika grinned, “I vote for Charlotte.”

Charlie began squirming around, “Um, hurry put me down!” Charlie made a beeline to the toilet, lifting the seat and sitting down.

Seeing Charlie reach for the toilet paper Erika reminded her, “Remember wipe front to back.”

Charlie looked up at Erika frowning, “You forget who helped potty train you?”

“I guess I kind of did forget that,” Erika snickered. “Anyway it’s a beautiful day today and everyone thought you were doing so well that you might like a little fresh air today.”

“Yeah I’d like that.”

“Okay I brought you some clothes, let’s go get you dressed.”

Back in the room Charlie watched as Erika took a dress out of the bag she had brought in with her, “ A dress?”

“Girls wear dresses.”

“Yeah but…”

“And,” Erika interrupted, “I know how much you hate those pull-ups you have to wear. A dress will hide it better and make it easier when you need to use the bathroom since you only have to lift your skirt and not fumble with getting pants down.”

Charlie looked down at the dress as Erika did up the buttons in the back. As far as dresses goes Charlie felt at least it was long enough to go down past her knees almost to her calves and it was blue. It was a very light blue but Charlie thought that at least it wasn’t pink. Erika then had her sit on the bed beside her while Erika brushed Charlie’s hair.

“Do you think we can get my hair cut soon?” Charlie asked as Erika ran a brush through her long tresses.

“You’re kidding right?” Erika sounded like the request shocked her. “Your hair is like fine silk. I know women that would kill to have such nice hair, it would be a shame to cut it.”

“It’s a pain in the ass,” Charlie stated, “It’s always getting in the way and I keep sitting on it too.”

“Little girls don’t use that kind of language,” Erika gently chastised. “How about when we get back I’ll braid it for you. For now I’ll put it in a ponytail so we can go get some sunshine and fresh air.”

“Yes mother,” the sarcasm dripping in Charlie’s voice.

Erika stopped brushing Charlie’s hair, sitting there in thought.

“I’m sorry Erika, I didn’t mean that to sound so nasty,” Charlie tried to apologize.

“No, it wasn’t that,” Erika tried to explain, “It was what you said, you called me your mother.” A wide smile spread across Erika’s face, “I guess technically I am sort of your mother now, they did use my egg to make your new body.”

“Keep it up and I’ll start singing, ‘I’m my own grandpa’,” Charlie joked as she tried to whistle the tune only to find out she could no longer whistle. “Just wonderful, I got to teach myself how to whistle again too!”

“Thank god for small favors,” Erika chuckled. “At least I don’t have to hear you whistle any of those Ray Stevens songs for now.”

“I can always hum the tune,” Charlie giggled. “Oh shit did I actually just giggle like a little girl?” Charlie eyes large and pleading as she looked up at Erika.

Erika felt lost looking down into Charlie’s eyes. All she wanted to do was hold Charlie and tell her that everything would be fine. Realizing what Charlie was doing whether she meant to or not, Erika shook herself out of it and looked away from those deep hypnotic eyes, “Those are the most captivating puppy dog eyes I think I have ever seen.” Erika laughed, “You’re doing that on purpose aren’t you?”

“Doing what?”

“Oh god, it’s natural?” Erika chuckled, “We’re doomed!”

Before their banter could go any further Greg came in pushing a wheelchair. “How’s my little science experiment today? In a better mood I hope?”

Charlie cheeks turned deep red at hearing him use those words. Two days before in a fit of depression over losing her manhood she screamed at him, saying that all she was to him was a science experiment. “I’m sorry, I should have never said that to you. I know you did everything you could to help me.”

“Hey it’s okay,” Greg smiled, “I know exactly how you feel. I never wanted to be a male but here I am.”

Charlie looked curiously over at Greg, “I thought you told me males were harder to grow?”

“Not really harder, there’s just more to it.”

“Then why go to the trouble if you don’t want one to begin with?” Charlie was very confused at what she was hearing.

“Long story, parts of which should not be told around someone your age,” Greg winked.

“I’m a lot older than you are.”

“How old do you think I am?” Greg baited.

“Um maybe thirty.”

Greg looked highly amused, “Would you believe that I met Lewis and Clark?”

Charlie’s eyes went wide as she realized that by cloning Greg could be thousands of years old and she would have never known. Charlie was sure he was telling the truth, but then was he telling the whole truth? Greg said he preferred to be female. Charlie gasped at the thought, was Greg saying in one of his past clones he was her?

Greg had watched Charlie carefully as she wrapped her mind around what he had told her. When Charlie looked back up to him as if to ask, he quickly spoke, “No I said I only met them, I didn’t guide them anywhere.” He watched Charlie breathe a sigh of relief. “Now why don’t you jump on and I’ll give you a ride out of this dungeon up to the surface.”

“We’re underground?” Charlie found this news hard to believe.

“Well I can’t conduct proper mad science experiments out in the open where everyone can watch can I?”

Charlie found herself giggling once again, “You don’t look very much like a mad scientist.”

“Vat you vant me sprechen like dis Fraulein?” Greg said in an over exaggerated fake German accent. “Ich can messen up de hair und wear diz lab coat if diz help.”

Charlie climbed into the wheel chair giggling at his antics, “Naw you’d still need the bushy mustache to pull that off.”

“Eww,” Greg shivered, “I hate facial hair on a man, it’s like kissing porcupine.”

Charlie twisted around to look at Greg while laughing, “You know that sounded so wrong coming from you.”

While Greg was pushing Charlie toward the elevator, Charlie twisted around where she could see Greg, “So why is all this underground?”

“Out of sight out of mind,” Greg confided, “We like to keep a low profile, you know, not draw unnecessary attention to ourselves while still doing things to help our community and the area as much as we can.”

“So it’s like area 51?”

“Eww no, we don’t have anything to do with that crazy government stuff, well not much anyway. Some years back we did have to slip in and remove an item they had there.”

“You broke into area 51!”

“Well not me of course!” Greg laughed, “There was a crash that the military got to before we could make sure nothing dangerous was left. So a few of our people had to sneak in and replace it with an empty before someone opened figured out how to open the magnetic bottle and destroyed the Earth. The last thing any military needs is a singularity especially one that had become unstable.”

“You have a black hole!”

“No,” Greg cocked his head inquisitively, “Why would we keep it? Its instability is what caused the ship to crash in the first place. They were foolish to even build a singularity drive in the first place. I don’t even want to imagine what it did to the crew when it went wonky and caused the crash. The only safe singularity is a non-existent one! Once we got it back here we collapsed it.”

“Jesus H Christ, who are you people?”

Greg leaned forward and whispered in Charlie’s ear, “Believe it or not, we’re the good guys.”

“But you’re aliens or something aren’t you?”

“Alien sounds so incriminating,” Greg grinned, “We all live on the same planet, some of us may not be originally from here, so what? Just because the white man is not originally from North America should they be called aliens by Native Americans?”

“But we were born here.”

“So was I,” Greg grinned. “And before you say anything about humans being native to this world there are some here that their people arrived on earth before the first Cro-Magnon stuck his head out of a cave and some here would argue that humans originated from another world too.”

“You know you left me a great opening to poke fun at Scientology,” Charlie giggled.

Erika chuckled as they entered the elevator, “Dad always called it ‘the church of divine profit’, spelled P R O F I T, not P R O P H E T.”

Greg pushed the top button and after a short few minutes the elevator doors opened showing a wooden door. Reaching for the door knob, Greg swung the wooden door outward revealing a hallway with off white plaster walls and light gray floor tiles. After pushing the wheelchair out into the hall, Greg waited for Erika to exit the elevator before closing the wooden door.

“Secret elevator?” Charlie quipped.

Greg grinned down at her, “Keeps visitors from asking why we have an elevator in a one story building.”

Charlie grinned, “Yeah, I guess that would look about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.”

Greg pushed Charlie around a corner then down another short hall into what appeared to be a waiting room where two young men sat. Charlie guessed they were hikers due to the framed backpacks that sat in the floor next to the two young men. Greg reached down to the locks on the wheelchair, setting both sides before walking around the front and helping Charlie up out of the chair, “Now Charlie, I want you and your mother to have a good time, but don’t overdo it, take it easy and let your stamina come back slowly okay?” Greg motioned with his eyes toward the two young men then winked at Charlie.

Erika took Charlie’s hand, leading her toward the front door of the small clinic. As Erika was closing the door behind them they could hear Greg speaking to the two young men, “What can I help you two with today?”

“Well doc, Benny got bit by some kind of spider and its swelling…” Was the last they heard before the door shut completely.

~o~O~o~

Standing on the wooden front porch outside, Charlie’s first impression was that she had stepped onto a movie set from an old western. All the buildings were short one and two story wooden structures with covered front porches. The street appeared to be dirt, no asphalt or concrete to be seen. The only thing missing were hitching posts for horses. Of course there were no horses that need them, instead Charlie spotted a couple of two seater ATV’s that had small beds in the rear like a miniature pickup truck bed, parked in front of a building that had a sign that read ‘Town Hall’.

“No cars?” Charlie looked up at Erika.

“No roads,” Erika grinned. “From what they have told me, the only way to get here is by one of the boats they use a ferries or hiking.”

“The only thing missing is a saloon,” Charlie joked.

“Come on,” Erika pulled Charlie along, “There’s something I want to show you.” Erika felt Charlie pull back nervously, “Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll like this place.”

Charlie let Erika guide her by the hand out into the mostly deserted street. Charlie felt the warmth of the sun against her face once they left the covered porch. Holding Erika’s hand, Charlie followed along until Erika stopped in front of one storefront on the opposite side of the street. The large plate glass window displayed the words, ‘Steaming Hotties’ in large arched fancy script under which the words in smaller script, ‘Coffee, Pastries & Cream’.

“A coffee shop?” Charlie questioned.

“Oh this place puts all the other coffee shops you’ve ever seen to shame,” Erika smiled. “Come let’s go in!”

Inside Charlie thought it reminded her of some of the coffee shops she had seen before, with tables and booths arranged to each side of the room between the door and the counter. She did notice that all the tables seemed to have a raised section in its center that had power and network ports. The counter only took up the left half of the large room. The right side continued further back creating an area with overstuffed chairs and a few couches where customers could lounge. “Looks like a nice enough place,” Charlie commented as she followed Erika up to the counter.

Charlie looks curiously at the woman behind the counter. The way she had made herself up to look like some kind of half human half cat looked so realistic. Charlie’s eyes grew wide when the woman turned and Charlie could see the very real fangs showing in the woman’s smile. If that hadn’t been enough Charlie saw the cat-like ears that she had thought were fake, twitch and rotate forward toward her and Erika. “You have to be Charlie!” The cat woman looked down at the small girl, “Erika has told me so much about you, but she neglected to tell me how pretty you were.” Charlie stood there frozen in shock as the woman continued. “I have just the thing for you!” standing straight she turned around to the equipment on the counter behind her and began grabbing items. Without looking back she asked, “Erika you want the usual?”

“Yes, Iced Chai Latte please,” Erika answered.

Charlie pulled Erika by the hand down to her level. “She’s a cat woman,” Charlie whispered, watching the woman’s tail flick back and forth while she worked to make their drinks.

“It’s not polite to stare dear,” Erika pointed out what Charlie was doing.

Before anything more could be said the cat woman came back over with two large cups that she sat on the counter. Charlie looked at the steaming cup the cat woman placed closest to her. It looked like a cup of hot chocolate with a scoop of chocolate ice cream floating in it. Seeing the look of confusion on Charlie’s face the cat woman leaned down to Charlie’s level, “We make the most delicious hot chocolate, but it comes out too hot for the little ones that come in, so I put a scoop of chocolate ice cream in it to help cool it faster.”

“That sounds delicious!” Erika grinned as she paid for the drinks.

Handing Erika her change the cat woman smiled down at Charlie, “Go ahead sweetie, I know you want to ask.”

Charlie knew it not polite but seeing the woman’s unique features she couldn’t stop herself, “I was told it was impolite to ask if people here were aliens.” Charlie looked down at the floor.

“No, I’m from San Diego and just as human as you or at least I used to be. Now I’m sort of half panther.”

“What happened!” Charlie gasped.

“It’s a long story sweetie,” The cat woman’s fangs shown as she smiled again, “One that would take too long to tell here.”

Charlie followed Erika over to one of the tables where they sat. Taking a sip of the hot chocolate, Charlie couldn’t believe the explosion of chocolate in her mouth. Looking across the table at Erika, “This is really good!”

“It looks like it is,” Erika sipped on her latte.

When both had finally finished they dropped off the empty cups in the dishpan left on a cart near the counter and walked back out into the fresh air. Walking further down the street, they passed by an electronics store that from the displays sold and serviced everything from cell phones to computers. Another store that caught Charlie’s eye was sporting goods, Charlie had always loved to fish and had a nice collection of fishing poles and tackle boxes full of gear back home. Charlie began to wonder what would come of her things. While none of the fishing gear she had was expensive, there was a lot of it and many of the things she had held quite a bit of sentimental value. There was no way anyone would believe who she was, Hell if it hadn’t happened to her she wouldn’t believe it.

“What’s wrong?” Erika noticed Charlie had stopped and was staring off at nothing.

“All my things, gone!” Charlie sniffed back the tears that tried to begin, “Every thing’s gone, photos, my truck, my fishing stuff, even me, Even I don’t exist.”

Erika took Charlie by the hand, “Come on, there’s something you need to see.” Erika led Charlie a little further down the street before turning to follow a footpath that led down past some A-frame style homes and log cabins stopping, leading Charlie up to and opening the door of one of the cabins.

Charlie leaned forward sticking her head through the opening to look inside, “Is, is that my recliner?” Charlie stepped into the log home to see pictures from his home hanging on the walls of the cabin. “What’s all this?”

“Its home,” Erika stated.

“What!”

“Have a seat, and I’ll explain everything.”

Charlie walked over to the recliner and tried to jump backwards up into it only to slide off the smooth leather chair. Turning around to face the chair she then climbed up into it while Erika sat on the edge of the love seat nearby. Sliding all the way back into the overstuffed recliner Charlie’s feet barely managed to stick out past the edge of the seat. “I don’t remember this chair being so big before,” Charlie slid herself out of the chair to go over and sit beside Erika. “So you were going to explain all this?”

Erika took a deep breath, “You know there was no way to fix it so you could stay by yourself at the house?” Charlie nodded then sat quietly waiting on Erika to continue. “During those two months that they kept you under we had your funeral.”

“Don’t you need a body for that?” Charlie giggled.

“We used your old body,” Erika took another deep breath, “They, Greg and his friends had some way of doing it, removing you from your body.”

“Are you telling me I was brain in a jar for that two month!” Charlie’s gasped.

“I don’t know exactly what or how they did it. Greg said it was something I really wouldn’t want to see or know so I didn’t ask. All I was concerned with was saving you.”

“Okay so I’m dead and the will was read,” Charlie stated. “I left everything to you.”

“After that I went to the house and packed up everything to bring here. Of course your old clothes I donated since neither of us could use them. I did save some of those Tee shirts I knew you were fond of as I figured you could use them as nightgowns or maybe we could make a tee shirt quilt or something out of them.”

“We’re going to live here?” Charlie asked, “What about you finishing school?”

“I’m planning on finishing school,”

“Good, I didn’t put out all that money for you to quit on me. But wouldn’t it work out better if we bought a place in Seattle near the college?”

“Maybe, but not with everyone thinking you’re my five year old daughter.” Erika sighed, “Not to mention if I didn’t enroll you in elementary school I would be arrested. And I’m sure you’d really love having a babysitter and being treated like you were five.” Erika reached over holding Charlie’s hand, “Staying here, the people that live in this town, almost all of them are different and know about you.”

“Like Greg and the panther lady?”

“Yes this town is all their people.”

“Um, are we the only humans here?”

“No there are a few others that I’ve met, but it’s not like everyone goes around with a sign saying ‘Alien’ or ‘Human’ hanging around their neck. I know this feels all new to you, but I’ve been here a little longer and can tell you these are good people, they truly want to help. And here you won’t be forced to repeat school, I can’t even imagine how weird that would be for you. I mean, at least I didn’t think you would want to repeat Kindergarten.”

Charlie giggled, “Yeah, I’d rather poke a sharp stick into my eye, it’d be less painful.”

“Although just because you don’t have to go to school doesn’t mean you get to sleep in, lay around the house or fish all day long.” Erika grinned, “I arranged a job for you.”

“You got me a job?” Charlie was shocked at first, then giggled when she realized with her small size and apparent age there weren’t many jobs she could actually do, “Okay so what kind of a job do you get for a five year old?”

“You remember the girl from the coffee shop?” Erika watched Charlie nod. “Her and her partner have three little ones, you’re going to be their babysitter, keep them out of trouble and when they are old enough to start learning things like their ABC’s and such you can teach them.”

“Okay, I guess that is the least I can do,” Charlie agreed then grinned evilly, “I mean how much trouble could some little kitten kids be? Give me a laser pointer and a couple balls of yarn and we’re good to go.”

“Charlie, all kidding aside they can’t send those three to a normal school and from what I understand you and those three and the only children in town.”

“Alright so you have my future all planned out, what about yours?”

“I’m taking the rest of this semester off, that way we both can get settled in. I’m told your new birth certificate and all that stuff should be in sometime in the next week or two.” Erika relayed her plans, “Then next semester I’ll stay in the dorm during the week and drive home on the weekends.”

“They forged me a birth certificate?”

“I’m told what they are getting is one hundred percent real.”

“How can… That’s impossible!” Charlie declared, only to see Erika shrug her shoulders.

“Oh damn, your new car?” Charlie realized it had to have been totaled in the accident.

“We brought your Land Cruiser out when we moved everything”

“You did? Where is it?”

“There’s a parking lot at the other dock everyone who has vehicles that lives here uses. It’s parked there. You’ll see tomorrow when we take it up to North Bend and maybe on over to Belview if we can’t find everything we need.”

“What all do we need other than some groceries?”

“You need clothes! Right now you have exactly three dresses five pairs of socks and the pair of shoes you’re wearing. Even a boy would need more than that.” Erika grinned mischievously, “So you want to check out the new house or what?” Grabbing Charlie’s hands and pulling her from the love seat, “Come on, I’ll show you your room.”



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